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ó readers the follow. Will you not confess the wisdom and kindness of!! not learn, difficult though they may be, the lesso; think fit. patience which his dispensations teach ? As !! sur lives known a single not rejoice in the thought that the riches en de will of God, He, being still remain, and the heavenly inheritance ? every future movement, to bereavement will you not rejoice in the onsequently, when we sin. passed into rest still live,—that a day ! 18 sight, but did that which dawn,-and that in the society of t' st did, therefore, when he shed whose loss you deplore will spend .se or redeem, but it was to pur. you sink beneath the power of dis seem that which never legitimately not recollect your sins ? Will yo r , then, that God has ever been our tions ? Will you not remembes, he paid a price for us as though we and expressions of your Fathe'st after we had done the robbery, we say with the truth that these ! ut to dispose of us as he may think fit. work out for you a far mor thing for us all to do.
2. The day of death as is not only a system of truths, but a system of
The Scriptures assu' minor objects and ultimate end, worthy alike of the ment, that “we mus' of the influences the truths call into action. The the approach of th saves an individual, not merely that he may be way. When the ut because in the means God chooses to appoint for
d withou world, his influence as a christian is requisite to its intelligible and of God never brought any man into the world so as to be denial. We ento very one else, or so that every one else should be indetime;" button neither does he ever translate a soul into the spiritual How the bim live in it uninfluenced by any
I live in it uninfluenced by any, or not influencing some. where it bosh influence exerted by some may be but slight, and indepen. walk throne s they may not be able to do anything; but when a system sit att nd the christian system must be, coming from God) every Perc) des ust have some end in its existence, some definite thing to acalik soft and really necessary to the efficient working of the others. ofte Purplish, brother, whether you are a primary or secondary in the grand
or the carrying on of individual and universal religion, whether
sition and circumstances be such as to enable you to do much or POLT, Ptle in the cause of Christ, I cannot say, you must be the judge, only this be certain, God has something for you to do. There is some
priate work he expects you to accomplish, some part in the carrying f the great work he intends you to take. Thirdly,–We should ascertain what God has for us to do.
it is a part of the system of morals, that we are guilty, if we do not hose parts of our duty we may be ignorant of when it is in our power
ascertain them, as well as for not doing those parts we know we ought to do. Our Pædobaptist friends (and they are not a few), who present such excuses (for we cannot call them arguments) in the Baptismal controversy, as, “Baptism is not an essential,” “we attend to the main point,” “jt is only of trivial importance whether or not we are baptized so that our hearts are right with God,” and so on, would do well to think of this. For such language is always the expression of a mind unwilling to investigate the subject; which has not considered, and does not incline to the consideration of what is truth, what God does command; and which renders them as culpable, and places them, in the sight of God, in the same position, as those who knowing Baptism is right yet refuse to attend to it. Whilst we Baptists, however, are not guilty of this want of manliness, with reference to the ordinance of Baptism, it is to be feared we too frequently manifest something of the same spirit and turn of mind with respect to the various objects God has for us to accomplish, and which, if
we were anxious to discern, he in his providence would point out. - Who is there who is always sedulously noticing events as they turn up, to see whether God has anything for him to do for his glory in them? Who is there who is continually asking himself the question, having accomplished every duty as it has been made known to him, what does God next wish me to do? Who is there that has not some times, many times, banished thoughts and suggestions from his mind lest he should be made aware of duties to be performed to which his inclination ran counter, and the doing of which he thus wickedly avoided ? Yea, who is there who has not, when the path of duty has been plain, and God's will clearly made mani. fest, in some cases disobeyed the call and shirked the engagement ? But this, brethren, ought not so to be, this is not the esteem God's kindness calls for at our hands. This is not the course either scripture or reason points out to us; and though our earnest endeavour, in all circumstances, to ascertain what God has for us to do in them, may, in many cases, render our minds uneasy, unless some who are Pastors descend to more intimate spiritual converse with their flocks,-some who are Deacons, to a more kind and affectionate bearing to their Pastor and the people, some who are rich, to more liberal contributions for the carrying on of the work of the Lord, and all of us, to a more striking exemplification of our holy religion before the men of the world, yet when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, when this world shall die and be buried ' with death, and time, and temporalities, and we no longer be subject to
the grosser influences which surround us now, but dwell in the midst of 'the pure inhabitants and elevating influences of heaven, perhaps it may increase our happiness, and render the scene still more bright and glorious, should we not be able to recall to our memory duties unattended to, or opportunities neglected of ascertaining the will of God when here below.
Fourthly,-Having ascertained what God has for us to do, we should DO IT.
What a number of philanthropic proceedings,---What a list of benevolent actions,—what a series of Christ-like deeds, at one time or other have occupied our thoughts! There is not an excellency we have admired, and have not thought of acquiring,--not a noble-minded man have we read of, we have not thought of imitating,—not a striking instance of selfdenial and devotedness to God has come under our notice, we have not thought of performing. We read of Howard, and we thought we ought to deny ourselves to contribute to the comfort of others. We read of the ancient martyrs, and we thought we ought to do more for the defence of truth. We perused the God-like actions of the Saviour, and we thought we should do all in our power to imitate him. But what more did we do than think about it? Perhaps we purposed. And what good thing in our time have we not purposed ? We knew there were many of our neighbours caring nothing for their souls, and, in a pious mood, we pur. posed doing something to awaken them from their danger. We knew our services were required in the Sabbath-school, and, in our better humour, we purposed rendering them. We saw an infant cause just needing our self-denial and liberal support to render it efficient and prosperous, and, pleased with the idea, we purposed making the sacrifice. "We heard from a missionary of the destitution of heathen lands, sympathized with the appeal for help, and the prayer, "send more labourers into the harvest,”and, in the momentary excitement, purposed devoting ourselves to the work, or taking fresh interest in the cause, and doing more than ever for it. But how much further did we go? Perhaps we began what we purposed. We saw the prayer.meeting was not well attended, and, urged by an appeal from our Pastor, we began to attend more regularly, and for a time listened with greater devotion to the prayers of our brethren, and in our hearts closed their petitions with a more fervent amen. We looked over the different localities of our town, pondered the best way to bring their inhabitants under the influence of the truth, and began to pray with the afflicted, to succour the needy, and preach the kingdom of heaven to the poor. We thought the scriptural instruction of the young worthy of our labours, we purposed addressing ourselves to the work, and we began to direct their attention to scriptural truth, and to prompt them to act the better part. But what did we do? What did we complete? What did we accomplish? The thousand thoughts we had of doing something to rescue the holy land from the infidels, departed quickly as they came. The hundred purposes we formed were scarcely prepared for the conflict, ere they deserted their standard. The score that reached the scene of action, and began the fight, fled upon the first appearance of difficulty and danger, and but one or two things have the best of us ever done worthy of the defenders of the holy sepulchre, of the soldiers of the cross.
Ye men of God, awake to a knowledge of your obligations. Ye ser. vants of Christ, arouse yourselves to the performance of your duties. The enquiring state of the public mind yields suitable opportunities for the development of christian truth. Recent events furnish numerous illustrations of the existence, the cause, and the means of dispersing error. Indications multiply, that existing systems will give way if an enlightened policy obtain amongst us, and that existing establishments will totter as the religion of Jesus becomes more clearly understood. It is our part, therefore, to act, to work, to do something in the state of affairs, that the truth may spread, that error may be suppressed, that systems gendering error, establishments perpetuating falsehood, may perish, that the time may come when the light shall appear above the horizon, which shall dispel all darkness,--when Juggernaut shall crumble in the dust, and Ma. homet's vision vanish as the day appears,when Antichrist shall be - hurled from the throne he has usurped, and his confederates perish with him in an universal overthrow, when every error and delusion shall be vanquished, blasted, and destroyed, and when Jesus' kingdom shall come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
BY THE RBV, JAMES SMITH. hi As there are different kinds of prayer-private, public, social, and · domestic—the christian is exhorted to pray always with all prayer. Whatever leads us to God does us good, and the seasons when we approach him are our best seasons. Pray we must if we are born of God, for prayer is then the breath of the soul; and pray we should, alone, or with others, as opportunity may offer. We cannot go to God too often, or be with God too much. We have many wants, and prayer will obtain a supply for them. We have many temptations, and prayer will prove a preservative against them. Are we private individuals ?' We should pray as such. Are we public characters ? We should pray as such. Are we at the head
of a family? We should pray in that situation. Let us reflect for a ... few minutes upon family prayer,
It is necessary, for we should acknowledge God in our social relations; we should say by our conduct, without fear or shame, “I am the Lord's.” It is included in bringing up our children in the nurture and adnivnition of the Lord. Our children and servants should hear us pray. The daily, devout, and scriptural prayers of the head of a family are the best lessons that can be given on prayer. It is beautiful, for what sight is more lovely than to see the master of the family with all his domestics around him, first reading God's word to them, and then praying for God's blessing upon them. They all hear the same truth, bow before the same throne, and are led to the same good and gracious God. Oh, it is a lovely sight! It is beneficial, it is the means which God often employs to produce salutary impressions, which issue in a sound conversion. Many have had to bless the day they ever went into a praying family. Then it often prevents disagreements, and works out a reconcilation where parties have disagreed. It is also God's ordinance, through which he sends down innumerable blessings upon them. God is specially present when a family meets for prayer,-he receives the confessions, listens to the complaints, pardons the sins, grants the requests, and imparts his blessing to tbe favoured group. A family without prayer, is a family exposed to ten thousand dangers. A house without an altar is only imperfectly furnished. To profess Christ and have no family prayer, is beneath the poor heathens, who have, and worship, their worthless household gods.
Prayer in the family should be short; long prayers are never acceptable in the presence of others, but they are very injurious in families where there are children or unconverted servants. Prayer in the family should be simple; it should be a simple confession of sin, acknowledgment of mercies, application for blessings, and pleading for pardon. · The less of art and the more of nature in family prayer the better. Prayer in the family should be spiritual; with too many it is a mere form. The party conducting it does not live near to God, so as to imbibe the Spirit of God, and, therefore, cannot pour out spiritual thoughts, desires, hopes, thanksgivings, and intercessions to God. We shall be pretty much in the family what we are in the closet : if familiar with God when alone, we shall be spiritual when we pray before others. Prayer in the family should be varied, sameness always tires; and with so many wants to be supplied, so many mercies to be acknowledged, so many parties to be remembered, so many promises to plead, there can be no reason why there should be a tiresome sameness. Variety generally interests, engages, and pleases, therefore aim at variety in family prayer. Prayer in the family should be regular; some have family prayer only on Lord's-days, and some only on particular occasions. Supper parties appear to be the invention of Satan to set aside family prayer, and do mischief in the families of professors, and his scheme too frequently succeeds. He that wishes to bring up his family for God, or to get an example which is likely to make a salutary impression on his domestics, should avoid all parties or meetings which are prolonged to a late hour. They have done, and in some places are doing, incalculable mischief.
Many professors have no family prayer; reader, have you ? If not, what is the reason? Do you plead the want of gifts ? Allow me to ask you, have you ever made the trial ? Have you ever sought the gift from God ? Many persons who can talk very fuently before their families upon matters of business, or politics, or other subjects of conversation, pretend that they cannot pray with their families. They can talk to them, or to others about them, but they cannot go upon their knees and talk to God for them. There is something radically wrong here, and it is to be feared that it lies in the state of the heart, and not in the lack of talent. The gift of prayer, like every other gift, grows by a judicious use of it. Those who have found great difficulty in commencing family prayer, have soon found the difficulty vanish by use. The devil hates family prayer, and will do all he can to keep us from it, or to make us weary of it. Many who have family prayer, may almost as well have none. They drive it off to such a late hour, that all are thoroughly tired out and cannot enjoy it. Or, they read over a lifeless, tiresome, barren form. Or, they pray in such a dull, monotonous, formal manner, that no one feels an interest, or derives any benefit from it. Or, they act so inconsistently in the business, or the family, when they are off their knees, that their domestics do not believe what they say when they are on. The actions of the day and the devotions of the evening should agree. A man is really what he is regulary. A spiritual man will be spiritual in all places; and a devout man will always be more or less devotional. Lively, devoted, and zealous christians always approve of and practise family prayer. They could not be happy without. They enjoy it, and, generally speaking, their domestics enjoy it with them. They exercise their judgment, and adapt their devotions to times, persons, and circum. stances. They throw their hearts into their prayers. Their affections are engaged and shew themselves. They manifest that they know God, are in friendship with him, and feel at home in his presence. Reader, is there an altar in your house? Do you collect your household regularly around it? Do you aim so to conduct family prayer, as to make a good, a pleasing, a profitable impression ? Is there incense on your altar twice in the day, or only once-every day, or only occasionally? Is there a sweet perfume of devotion, grateful alike to spiritual persons and to God? Beloved, family prayer will never be what it ought to be until we live nearer to God. When our fellowship with God is close, intimate, and filial, then all our mercies, whether in the sanctuary, the sick room, or the family, will be savoury, salutary, and impressive. There will be a power, a sweetness, and a spirituality about them, which must be realized to be known, and even then cannot be described. Alas! we are so worldly, so carnal, só cold, that the difference between us and the world is very slight. Oh, that God would pour down his Holy Spirit upon us, and fill us with love, zeal, and power; that so we may worship him in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Lord Jesus, send the blessed Comforter into our hearts and homes, that we may reflect thy praise, and that our families may be consecrated to thy service! Holy Spirit, come and preside in our households, bring every member into union with Christ, and enable us to preside over them to the glory of the Most High! Gracious God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we worship thee, and desire that all that are under our influence may be the temples of God, the epistles of Christ, the habitation of the Comforter; take, oh, take them, and consecrate them to thyself for ever!
AN EXAMPLE TO DEACONS.
When deacon Barker, of Newport, was on his death-bed, and his pastor went to see him, he said, “ Pastor, I never heard you preach a sermon, but I always prayed God to bless and help you.”
Deacons, here is an example for you. Whenever you see your pastor ascend the pulpit, whenever you see him rise to speak in the Lord's name, lift up your hearts to God for his blessing. Two such deacons would be